Tuisawau: Lack of data on rural water

Minister for Public Works, Transport and Meteorological Services, Ro Filipe Tuisawau during break between sessions at the Parliament complex in Suva on Monday, Sep 11, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Public Works Minister Ro Filipe Tuisawau says one of the biggest issues regarding rural water is the lack of data.

He highlighted this in Parliament on Monday when asked to provide an update on when the Viria Water Treatment Plant would be fully operational so that water issues could be resolved.

“Since I started, one of the big issues regarding, especially the rural water, is the lack of data. So, when I asked, ‘Do you have a database of all the villages and the state of their water catchment and that kind of details’, there is none,” Ro Filipe said.

“Currently there is a project under UNICEF, which is compiling that information. That is a consistent way of doing it. Once we have that, then you could prioritise that according to the needs and the risks in terms of health and all that,” he said.

“Once you prioritise that you can put it in the annual program and budget for it. Right now, no one handed that over to me. That is the problem and that is the situation with the rural water.” He said the lack of consistent plan and moving forward in terms of implementation plan and proper budgeting was the reason for all the issues.

“We need millions and we do not have that. That is why I am saying, we need to see what budget we have and complement that with our development partners, and that is what we are currently chasing right now and there have been a lot of good responses.

“I am looking forward to getting that needs analysis and then matching it with what budget we have, plugging the gap with our funding from our development partners.

“So, it should look good after 12 months and we should be moving forward on that.”

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